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Queen Coal? Why Remember Women of the 1984/85 Miners' Strike

Positive Responses to Women's Roles

The extracts below are from interviews recorded with 47 miners wives who were active in the  'Women Against Pit Closures' movement. The interviews are transcr ibed and held in the Women's Library, London in a collection called The Betty Heathfield Papers.


"Weve become feminists in our own kind of way but were not true feminists . . . I like my old man to still know hes boss. Ive got mixed feeling because now I want to be equal to him, but I want him to still wear the trousers in the house. Before the strike, if Id have known I was going to talk to some lesbians, Id have died. But theyre only like us. They are normal people. They are just like you and me. And they talk like you and me. Thats something Ive learned. I could never be a true feminist. Honest. Although I think women should be equal. And be as equal. Id never go down the pits! Im a coward!"

"Before the strike, I was housebound. I could only go out in my wheelchair when my husband came home from work of my kids came home from school. But the girls in the Support Group have taken me to every part of the country in rallies that I would have said Ooh no. Impossible. I could never . . . There have been no obstacles in the way. And that is true friendship. It is not because they thought they were doing me a blood favour. They said You are secretary of the group. Youve got to come along. Those wheels have got to be your spare legs. And theyve taken me to every single where. Now its over and I cant afford to let these girls go. Because to me theyre everything. Were going to Blackpool in September. Ive never been to Blackpool in my bloody life. They dont want a bloody old dog like me in a wheelchair. But theyre bloody taking me."


Read about 'Positive Responses to Women working in mines' during Victorian times

Listen to the audio clip below - Women Against Pit Closures.

Document icon Learning article provided by: National Coal Mining Museum for England | 

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